Friday, October 29, 2021

Windham’s annual Trunk or Treat displays creativity, community spirit

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Department's
Disney themed entry was the first-place winner 
for Community Organization trunk during the
annual Trunk or Treat event on Oct. 23 at the 
Windham Mall. Joe Schnupp, Community
Policing Officer, created the trunk for the
sheriff's department. PHOTO BY
By Collette Hayes

More than 220 children, dressed in their hauntingly delightful Halloween costumes, visited Windham’s annual Drive-Thru Trunk or Treat event on Saturday, Oct. 23 and didn’t leave empty handed from the creepy annual event.

As families slowly drove by spooky car trunks loaded with candy, excited children held out bags or plastic pumpkins from car windows to receive pre-packaged treats from trunk hosts.

Trunk or Treat was originally created in 2017 by Windham’s Park and Recreation Department. This year, the Halloween event was cohosted by Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce and the owner of the Windham Mall, Jay Wise, who generously provided the use of the mall property where the event was held.

According to Linda Brooks, Windham Parks and Recreation director, six years ago the Department of Parks and Recreation created the Halloween event which has exploded in size and now requires a much larger facility to accommodate more people. The Trunk or Treat aspect of the event was added to efficiently distribute candy to the large numbers attending.

“We were beyond our capacity to serve all of the people,” Brooks said. “We planned to move the event to Windham High School but due to COVID, we offered this as a drive-by event last year. Since the event is held outside, the strict guidelines have lessened. This year we had 26 trunks registered and decorated by businesses, community organizations and families.”

Pre-registration of those attending allows for organization, safety and management of the large number of participants that attend, Brooks said.

“Participants were required to register for a scheduled time slot in order to participate,” Brooks said. “Pre-registration helps so we can run the event in two hours and also to keep a handle on the flow of traffic. We couldn’t do this without the businesses and organizations that help. The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, the Windham Town Departments and the Windham Mall have been fantastic partners in this. It is well beyond our five-person town department to do this alone.”

Windham Department of Parks and Recreation Youth and Family Coordinator Sarah Davenport said in lieu of an admission fee, donations were collected for the Windham Food Pantry.

All together a total of 1,031 items in non-perishables and cash were collected and donated to the Windham Food Pantry through the Trunk or Treat event.

According to Robin Mullins, Executive Director of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, this is the second year they have co-hosted the event with the Windham Parks and Recreation Department and the Windham Mall.

Mullins said she was excited about having 220 children participate in the Trunk or Treat event this year and remarked on how the event brought community organizations closer together.

“It’s great to see the businesses, the nonprofits and the community all working together,” Mullins said. “Yesterday I was in the Chamber office and we had the Windham Police Department, the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber and the Sebago Lakes Rotary all together in my conference room putting bags of candy together for the Trunk or Treat event.”

Joe Schnupp, the Community Policing Officer at Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, said he was appreciative to the Windham Parks and Recreation Department for hosting the event. He created an impressive Disney themed trunk for the sheriff’s department.

“This is the fourth year that the sheriff’s department has participated,” Shnup said. “This event is all about the kids and I’m happy to have the opportunity to be a part of it. The hosts have done a great job scheduling times so that traffic isn’t an issue.”

Kelsey Crowe, Windham’s Parks and Recreation Department deputy director, said she was impressed with the support of the volunteers that contributed to the success of the event this year.

“We had the Police Department, the Fire Department and the Cumberland Sheriff’s Department all here tonight to support the event,” Crowe said. “Also, the Lions Club judges two different contests for us, The Trunk Contest, where prizes are given to the businesses, the community organizations and Family Trunk Hosts and the Kids Costume Contest.”

First place winners in the Trunk Contest were: The Hart Family’s M&M Trunk, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department’s Disney Themed Trunk; and Willie’s Towing Haunted Tow Truck Trunk. Davenport expressed appreciation to the businesses who generously donated prizes for the trunk hosts: Portland Pie Co. and Smitty’s Cinema.

Submissions for the Parks and Recreation annual costume contest sponsored by Dairy Queen, will be received through Nov. 3. Kids ages 18 and under are invited to participate in the costume contest.

Details for submitting a costume photo can be found on the Parks and Recreation website Parks& <

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